With a booming career and the credentials to prove it, Zaha Hadid has defined a radically new approach to architecture. By creating innovative works such as Pierres Vives, the London Aquatics Centre, and the Guangzhou Opera House, she uses multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life.
Growing up in a flourishing, Western-focused Iraq prior to the socialist Ba’ath Party’s seize of power, Hadid developed a taste for luxury. Despite the secular, liberal climate of her childhood environment, the idea of women working in the macho realm of architecture was still taboo in the Middle East. To survive, Hadid adopted a strong, artistic temperament as represented in her forceful designs.
While her work emulates glamour and sophistication, she is not to be confused with your stereotypical rich girl—just ask the critics who thought it would be cute to nickname her “diva”—they probably weren’t expecting her staff to show up at the opening of the Cincinnati Art Center sporting “Would they call me a diva if I were a guy” t-shirts.
Making Forbes’ “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list in 2008, Hadid has earned the right to have her cake and eat it too.
Here are some works by the queen of elegance herself:
If Darth Vader had a vessel, this is what it would look like. Hadid’s 8-meter, asymmetric “Z-Boat” is fabricated from fiberglass and carbon fiber. The interior will be spec-ed out with a vinyl material new to the market, articulating her futuristic aesthetic. Set to be released next spring in black, white, grey, and blue, only 12 will be made at €375,000 a pop.
Capital Hill Residence (2006-2011)
Located in the hill tops of Moscow, Russia, Hadid’s multi-level Capital Hill Residence is divided into two components. While one merges with the hillside, the other embodies the appearance of an elevated spaceship.
Photo by Werner Huthmacher.
Mansion, check. Sick boat, double check. Custom designer art, CHECK. While paying homage to Louis Vuitton, Hadid and nine other artists of varying disciplines participated in the “Icons” exhibition. Each creator was given free design rein, while tasked with creating an experimental piece inspired by his/her favorite Vuitton classic.
Although best known for her larger, highly-publicized architectural masterpieces, the smaller projects Hadid takes on offer a more personalized glimpse into her character. Few architects have the skill and versatility required to invent such modern marvels, making Zaha Hadid a true pioneer of her craft.
All other photos courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.